Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for humans and many animals. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is vital for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is necessary for the construction of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, which means it helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals—molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-rays or other sources. Unlike most animals, humans cannot synthesize vitamin C endogenously, which means it must be received through diet or supplementation.

Vitamin C is found in various foods, including fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli. The body cannot store vitamin C, so it must be consumed regularly to maintain adequate levels. While it can be synthesized in a laboratory for supplements, natural sources of vitamin C are the preferred means of obtaining this vital nutrient because they provide additional beneficial compounds such as flavonoids that enhance its antioxidant activity.

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The health benefits of vitamin C are numerous. It plays a critical role in the immune system by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C enhances the skin’s defense system and accelerates the wound healing process. It also aids in the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease. Furthermore, the antioxidant properties of vitamin C help fight against oxidative stress, which is linked to many chronic diseases.

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A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a disease characterized by anemia, bleeding gums, bruising, and poor wound healing. On the other hand, adequate vitamin C intake through diet or supplements can help prevent or treat certain conditions. It is commonly used to reduce the symptoms of the common cold. Research also suggests that vitamin C may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. However, it’s important to note that while vitamin C supplementation can support health, it is not a cure-all and should be part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

1. Davis, J., Paris, H. L., Beals, J. W., et al. (2016). Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury. [Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 9, NMI.S39764].
2. Shahbaz, U., Fatima, N., Basharat, S., et al. (2022). Role of vitamin C in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression and severity. [AIMS Microbiology, 8(1), 10.3934/microbiol.2022010].
3. Miranda-Massari, J. R., Toro, A. P., Loh, D., et al. (2021). The Effects of Vitamin C on the Multiple Pathophysiological Stages of COVID-19. [Life, 11(12), 1341].

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Iron is an essential mineral required for the formation of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. Iron is vital for preventing anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness. There are two forms of dietary iron heme iron, found in animal products, and non-heme iron, found in plant-based foods. The recommended daily intake of iron for adult men is around 8 milligrams, while adult women require approximately 18 milligrams (increasing during pregnancy). Ensuring an adequate intake of iron can significantly improve life quality by preventing anemia, boosting energy levels, and supporting overall physical and mental well-being.

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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. It is a complex molecule that contains the mineral cobalt and is the only vitamin that contains a metal ion. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. It is not typically present in plant foods, which is why vegetarians and vegans may need to obtain it through fortified foods or supplements. The body utilizes two active forms of Vitamin B12, methylcobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin, which are crucial for processes such as DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and neurological function.

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The human body benefits from Vitamin B12 in several vital ways. It is integral to normal brain and nervous system function and plays a significant role in the formation of blood. Moreover, Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, affecting DNA synthesis and regulation as well as fatty acid synthesis and energy production. Without adequate levels of Vitamin B12, the body’s ability to perform these essential functions is compromised. For instance, Vitamin B12 helps in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which is crucial for protecting the heart and cardiovascular system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to various health issues, including pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia, and neurological disorders such as neuropathy. It can also contribute to the development of cognitive disorders, particularly in the elderly, and has been associated with an increased risk of dementia. Early detection and treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency are critical for preventing irreversible health consequences. Adults are recommended to take 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily, and those with a higher risk of deficiency, such as vegetarians, should consider supplementation.

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To optimize the benefits of Vitamin B12, it is often recommended to take it in conjunction with other B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B9 (folate), as they work together in one-carbon metabolism. This synergy is important for processes such as DNA synthesis and repair. Additionally, maintaining adequate levels of other nutrients like iron and calcium can support the functions of Vitamin B12 and promote overall health.


  1. Butola, L., Kute, P., Anjankar, A., Dhok, A., Gusain, Neelam, & Vagga, A. (2020). Vitamin B12 – Do You Know Everything?. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, 9(43), 3194-3199.
  2. Chittaranjan, Y. (2020). Vitamin B12: An Intergenerational Story. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 76(Suppl. 2), 7-15.
  3. Lyon, P., Strippoli, V., Fang, B., & Cimmino, L. (2020). B Vitamins and One-Carbon Metabolism: Implications in Human Health and Disease. Nutrients, 12(9), 2867.

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